Laura: Hi Sue, what did you make of the experience of the Sleep Out?
Sue: I really enjoyed it. I did it with my husband and there was one other person from One25. And the following morning I discovered that there were loads of other people that I knew but I hadn’t seen them because it had been dark! It was cold. It was in February. It had just been snowing. It was uncomfortable. It was a long night. But it no way emulated what people go through when they actually sleep out through homelessness. We drove down there for a start, had sleeping bags, we both went out and bought thermal underwear, long-johns, jumpers, extra coats. So, we were relatively comfortable really.
"It was cold. It was in February. It had just been snowing. It was uncomfortable. It was a long night. But it no way emulated what people go through when they actually sleep out."-
Laura: did you manage to get any sleep?
Sue: Maybe the odd half an hour. My husband slept. But he sleeps anywhere!
Laura: So, you feel like you didn’t really experience homelessness…
Sue: We didn’t experience homelessness. We were completely safe, there was somebody walking round all night. We were given soup. We could go in and get tea at any time during the night. Nothing awful happened to us. We were watched over. And it didn’t rain, fortunately. Nobody was abusing us or kicking us or peeing over us or any of the horrible things that happen. So, yeah I don’t think it was anything like actually sleeping rough. It wasn’t like camping but it was fine.
Laura: So, do you have any advice for this year’s participants? How they should approach it? Practical tips?
Sue: Warm clothes, definitely thermals. Sleeping bag. The best thing that I did was go to Nailsea Electricals and got a great big fridge cardboard box. We got a few actually. My husband just put them underneath him. But I’m small enough to get inside the box and that was actually all right. It was better than not being in a box. So that’s what I would advise… getting cardboard boxes. And if you’re small enough get inside it, otherwise have it underneath you. But I think, you can take whatever you want, you can take sleeping mats and things.
Laura: So would you encourage others to keep in mind the difference between what we’re doing and the reality of homelessness?
Sue: Yeah. My idea was just to raise money for One25 and that was it. I don’t run marathons… it seemed fairly easy just to go to bed for the night. Apart from the cold and being awake and it’s quite uncomfortable, it wasn’t too bad. It was to raise money for an important cause.
Laura: And finally, you managed to raise £854 by doing the Sleep Out, which is a lot of money! Do you have any sponsorship-raising tips?
Sue: We signed up for the Sleep Out really late so I think we made all the money in about 8 days. I made a Facebook page and an online giving page. And just kept on, every day: ‘I’m doing this! Sandy and I are doing this!’ And that was it really, every day for that eight days. Maybe two or three times a day just reminding people! Because I think a lot of people when they are doing things like marathons, they start putting it on Facebook six months beforehand and people think ‘Oh I’ll give nearer the time’ but unless you keep on and on and on, you don’t get the money. So I would advise keeping it fairly close to the time and just going for it.